Last night, after voting to support the government’s proposals for new tiered restrictions in the battle against Coronavirus, Hastings and Rye MP made the decision to explain in detail why she made the decision she did. Here’s what she had to say
This evening Parliament had an opportunity to vote on the new tiered restrictions that the Government has put forward. I voted in support of these new restrictions that will put East Sussex into Tier 2 for the next two weeks before they are reviewed again.
I want to take this opportunity to explain why I voted in support, and so I hope you will bear with me in the length of this post.
These are incredibly important decisions and very difficult judgements to make, so I think the residents and business owners in Hastings and Rye deserve a full explanation.
Recently I had the opportunity to visit the Conquest Hospital in Hastings, and to hear from the staff who have been moving heaven and earth to keep us safe over the last ten months. I heard of their stresses and concerns as they were gearing up for an increase in cases – I could see their anxiety.
…these heroes have continued every day to be there for us throughout this pandemic.
Yet, what impacted me most that day was their energy, devotion, selflessness and love for the job they were doing. That in this darkest moment they were providing that flicker of light and hope to the patients on those Covid wards.
No matter how challenging the circumstances, these heroes have continued every day to be there for us throughout this pandemic. Right now, at the Conquest Hospital, the pressure is on. Capacity on the ICU wards is now almost full. Capacity across the hospital is tight. I had calls and briefings over the weekend and right up until the last few hours before the vote this evening, from officials at the Department for Health and Social Care, the Prime Minister, our local Director of Public Health in East Sussex, the local NHS Trust and local businesses.
Moreover, I have received hundreds of emails, calls and messages from constituents right across Hastings and Rye in the last few days. There has been no shortage of views, opinions, data and information available to me before making my decision. Ultimately, my overriding view was that everything must be done to protect our NHS now, as we did back in March and April.
…no decision comes without its consequences.
But unlike the first wave, we must ensure we keep non-Covid19 services operating and have capacity for the inevitable flu pressures that will hit in the new year. My vote in support of the Government this evening was to help those NHS staff on the frontline right now, to help ease the pressure, and to ensure in the coming weeks we get hospital admissions low again.
I have wrestled with the way in which I will voted this evening over many days. And no decision comes without its consequences. I know there will be impacts on our economy, but I also know to not act could add more pressure on our local hospital. There will be constituents and business owners in Hastings and Rye who will be disappointed and angry with my support for the Government’s motion today. However, I say to them that we have come so far, sacrificed so much, and again our NHS staff, as I speak right now, are helping some of our friends, neighbours and loved ones battle this virus on the ICU wards of our hospital. We can’t simply lift our foot off the break right now.
These decisions are tough. None of us elected to the House of Commons last year want to be wrestling with the decisions of personal liberty against the preservation of life from Covid19, but that is the reality of the world we face right now.
I believe it is right to ask the residents and businesses of Hastings and Rye to comply with Tier 2 for the next two weeks. To support our NHS workers and to ease the pressure on them.
The scientific beacon is shining bright…
If, as I hope, the hospitalisations follow the case rates locally, and begin to fall, then I will be asking this Government to move East Sussex into Tier 1 in time for Christmas. But right now, we need to support our NHS heroes.
Right now, we need to all do our bit for a short while longer. The scientific beacon is shining bright on the mountain top, and we are gradually scaling the rock face, getting closer and closer to the summit. Before too long we will be there.
The vaccines will be here to liberate us all from the shackles of this pandemic, so we can once again enjoy the freedoms and liberties that we have always defended and promoted. We just haven’t got there yet, and we must not give up when victory is tantalisingly close within our grasp.
Together we beat the first wave. Together we are overcoming the second. Let’s not relax too soon and be faced with a third.I hope this has gone some way to explain my reasoning behind my support for the Government this evening.
The Hastings and Rye Labour Party has already launched an attack on Mrs Hart’s decision to support government proposals saying: “Sally-Ann Hart has sold-out our hospitality sector. She voted to put our area in Tier 2. Labour opposed the new tier system without adequate support for our hospitality industry… Many of our wonderful pubs, clubs and other hospitality areas will never reopen!
“At the next election don’t forget Sally-Ann Hart was complicit in this!”